Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016
Parliamentary Record 1
Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020
pp 65 to 124
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 19 October 2016 66 four government, two Independent, and one oppositionand will report back to the Assembly by 31 March 2017. It is anticipated that the recommendations of the committee which are accepted by the Assembly will be implemented as soon as possible in 2017, although some may take some time to roll out. The committee will look at how we can do things better in this House, because the last four years have shown us that we must do better, we must give Territorians faith that their government will get on and do its job. Almost two months ago Territorians placed an enormous amount of trust in this government. We are truly humbled to have the support and faith of Territorians that has been placed in our government. We have heard loud and clear from the community that Territorians expect open, transparent and accountable government, and that is exactly what the Gunner-led government will be. One of the first ways we will repay their faith and implement one of our key election promises of restoring integrity to government is to establish this select committee into parliamentary reform. Before the election, Territory Labor released a discussion paper on reforming democracy. I table that document. We wanted to hear from our community on ways we could open up the parliament to the people and how to make sure our parliament was relevant and reflective of peoples expectations of their representatives. We have seen, over the last four years, the damage a chaotic and dysfunctional government can cause. We have seen this Assembly descend into utter farce at times. We have seen our parliament become the laughing stock of the country, from midnight coups to personal attacks, threats of violence, and bungled and rushed legislation from a government which ignored expert advice and believed it knew best. In one sittings of the Assembly we would have no legislation, then in the next sittings we would be asked to rush through legislation on urgency. Madam Speaker, as you well know, urgency should be reserved for exactly that: an urgent matter, something to do with water supply, important issues like that, not because a government could not get its timing of legislation right. As a local member I would often hear from my community, out on the doors, at the markets, at school drop offsthe questions were, what is going on in that place? What is wrong with our government? There have been times when I am sure each of us here has asked that, and we saw some reflection upon the Leader of the Opposition yesterday. But this place, this Assembly, should be a place where ideas are contested and we work positively together to achieve good outcomes for the people of the Northern Territory. All 25 of us here today have been elected by our communities. We have been elected to represent them in this Assembly and this House, to provide a voice on legislation, to provide input from our community. Everyone deserves to be listened to, and as representatives of our communities, of the people of the Territory who have put their faith in each of us, we need to deliver on that. This motion will do that. Throughout the last term, Territorians spoke out strongly on a number of concerns, such as the sale of TIO. We saw a number of rallies outside this parliament. We saw hundresds of people drive through the streets, tooting their support and calling on the government to hear their voices and not sell TIO. But as we know, TIO was sold, despite protests, debate in this Chamber and thousands of Territorians telling the CLP government they did not want TIO sold. It seemed that in the way of scrutiny, very little occurred in that decision. Since the sale of TIO, we have seen people lose their jobs, branches shut down and insurance premiums increase sharply. We have seen people who were able to access discounts before because they were a Territory-owned company, based in the Territory, lose those discounts. We knew it was a bad decision then, but the government would not listen to Territorians. The establishment of this committee will provide an avenue of input for Territorians, to make sure our process allows voices to be heard, which were not heard in the case of TIO being sold. We saw rallies against cuts to teacher numbers and school budget cuts; we saw teachers and parents calling out to be heard, wanting to share their stories of the impact those cuts would have on our children and schoolsstudents left without support in the classroom and dedicated teachers left without jobs. Schools had to decide which program they would cut simply to get by. We knew it was a bad decision, but the CLP government would not listen.
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